Theme for English B, The theme for both stories revolve around "…
Theme for English B
In Theme for English B, the author uses the phrase "I like.." a lot in the middle paragraphs when writing about his everyday thoughts and wants.
In this section, the author tries to prove that he is just like anybody else, by naming the things he likes to do-- they're not uncommon at all, The author repeats this phrase "I like.." to emphasize that the things he wants and the things he does is just like everybody else, and that there is no reason to be treated or seen differently.
Another motif the author uses is the constant repeating of the words "me" and "you" next to each other all throughout his poem. This is intentional because he uses repetition to emphasize the difference between "you" and "me", as well as the similarities.
For example, Hughes writes, "You are white--- yet a part of me, as I am a part of you. That's American. Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me. Nor do I often want to be a part of you. But we are, that's true!" (Hughes 31-36)
The author writes these sentences comparing "me" and "you" (the narrator and his professor, respectively) so close together to be able to clearly compare and contrast the two people. By writing that both people are a part of each other even though they don't want to be, the narrator expresses his sense of unity with everyone else and admits that everyone's the same regardless of what people think. The use of constant repetition of these two words together work to prove that to the readers and establish an overall message.
He writes, "Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life. I like a pipe for a Christmas present, or records---Bessie, bop, or Bach." (Hughes 21-24)
The theme in English B is shown through the speaker realizing that both races of white and black are very similar.
The speaker recognizes that even though they are both similar in every way, white people are treated much better.
The speaker wants this to end and the theme of everyone should be treated equal because at the end of the day, they are all people.
Due to this, the speaker wants to unite everyone under the name "American", not white or black.
Narrator vs. Society (External):
Due to the color of the narrator's skin color, people like his teacher and classmates, who were white, were more "free" than he was. This shows how there is discrimination and segregation.
Narrator vs. Society (Internal):
"It's not easy to know what's true for you or me" (Hughes 16). The narrator struggles to see what is true for himself. Being a man in a predominant white race society, he has to explain to himself if he is truly different from those around him or are they more similar to him than he thought. "I guess being colored doesn't make me NOT like the same things other folks like who are other races" (Hughes 25-26).
The narrator is more grounded and mature.
He is revealed to be a college student, so he is a lot older than the narrator from The Jacket.
He is also aware of his situation as an African American and as the only colored student in his class, he has a clear understanding of why he feels different and learns to embrace his difference a lot faster than the narrator from The Jacket does.
Author's Use of Language:
Uses allusions to reference places such as Harlem and New York.
Elaborates on the background of the poem by using allusions to reference streets.
Uses imagery to describe his relationship with Harlem. For example, the narrator states,"I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you: hear you, hear me---we two---you, me talk on this page" (Hughes 18-19).
Uses repetition of the words "I" and "you" because he writing about himself to his teacher.
Uses patterns like "I like..." to attract the reader's attention and to emphasize the point of how he does have similar interests with people of other races.
Uses hyphens to add emphasis to the words around them, so the readers can understand their importance and meaning.
The speaker tells very detailed instructions to get to his home to show that he considers Harlem as a home as much as any white person.
Also does this when he describes what he likes to make himself more relatable.
He does all this to show that black and white people are not very different from one another.
In lines 1-5, the writer says questions if whatever he says will be true.
This implies that as a black man, he will have a prejudice against him making what he says "false."
However, if a white man says anything, there will be a bias towards them making it much easier in society.
All in all, this relates to the outside world of white privilege.
The theme for both stories revolve around "Identity"
Both narrators are different from the rest in some way.
Both narrators struggle with conformity and in the end accept their differences.
In Theme for English B, the narrator is African-American in a predominantly white area, and acknowledges this difference in his starting paragraphs.
Quote: "I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem, I went to school there, then Durham, then here, to this college on the hill above Harlem. I am the only colored student in my class" (Hughes 7-10).
In The Jacket, the narrator is forced to wear an ugly jacket for most of his childhood instead of cool slick jacket like the other kids. He is shown to despise this difference from the beginning.
Quote: "I wanted to cry because it was so ugly and so big that I knew I'd have to wear it a long time. I was a small kid, thin as a young tree, and it would be years before I'd have a new one. I stared at the jacket, like an enemy, thinking bad things before I took off my old jacket" (Soto 3).
Narrator vs. Society (External):
The narrator was insecure about his appearance because he had to wear an ugly jacket, which reflected his family's financial state (poor).
Narrator vs Society (Internal):
The narrator assumed that everybody laughed at him because of the jacket he was wearing. He constantly thought that he was being judged and as a result, didn't do well in school and got bad grades.
The theme for The Jacket revolves around the protagonist trying to be like everyone else but fails to do so, due to his different circumstances.
This causes the reader to continually reject who he truly is.
However, in the end of the story, he realizes that he has to accept everything that makes up him in order to be the best person he can.
The narrator in The Jacket is a immature young boy and he is very stubborn.
He is very insecure and blames everything except himself.
This causes him to see the entire world against him and repetitively vents his feelings through actions such as throwing peels or agitating his dog.
The motif in The Jacket is the jacket the narrator so heavily despises. The jacket symbolizes the insecurity the narrator has of his family's poor financial state.
The motif is the repeated descriptions of the jacket The narrator describes the jacket as ugly and "the color of day-old guacamole" (Soto 2). The narrator uses imagery and describes the jacket as a stranger and an enemy, but towards the end, he refers the jacket as that "green ugly brother" (Soto 12).
Author's Use of Language:
Creates a negative tone from the beginning of the story (bitter as a penny).
Uses lots of metaphors and imagery to describe the jacket.
Uses words like mope and drape to show attachment to the jacket.
Uses words to develop the relationship with jacket (goes from stranger to brother).
Imagery to make the reader understand the narrator's feelings such as day-old guacamole to show that the jacket serves it purpose but not ideal.
They author repeatedly uses the phrase "white breath puff and disappear" to show that it is cold.
This is to show that a jacket is necessary and serves its purpose.
Additionally, the author describes the jacket as day old guacamole to show that the jacket is not desirable but good enough to serve its purpose.
The jacket is also described as a stranger in the beginning and at the end, a brother showing the increase of attachment and importance the narrator has for the jacket.